The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (HKMAO) of the State Council is set to make an announcement about Hong Kong’s political crisis and social unrest stemming from the now-suspended extradition bill.
In a notice issued on Sunday afternoon, the State Council Information Office said the HKMAO will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. today to give “its stance and views on Hong Kong’s current situation”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Yang Guang and Xu Luying, spokespersons of the office, will attend the event.
It will be the first time that China’s top policy office on Hong Kong affairs will hold a press briefing about Hong Kong since it was established in 1997 and its first open response to the extradition bill saga.
During a meeting in Beijing with a delegation from the Hong Kong think-tank Path of Democracy in May, Zhang Xiaoming, director of the office, called the proposed revision of the city’s extradition laws “necessary, appropriate, lawful and reasonable”.
Ronny Tong Ka-wah, the think-tank’s founder and a member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, revealed that Zhang had talked about the suggestion of “trying Hongkongers in Hong Kong”.
According to Tong, Zhang said such proposal did not completely satisfy Hong Kong’s common law system.
However, the office has kept quiet about the issues surrounding the extradition bill since, even after Hong Kong saw large numbers of people taking to the streets to protest against the bill and the administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor since June.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said he believes the HKMAO mainly wants to use the press conference to reiterate the central authorities’ support for the HKSAR government and the Hong Kong Police Force.
The office may particularly acknowledge the force for its importance to Hong Kong as it has suffered from low morale, Lau added.
Separately, the Chief Executive’s Office on Sunday night denied rumors that Lam was unable to “continue to discharge the duties” of a chief executive due to “an acute health problem” and that Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung would take over as acting chief executive until a by-election was held six months from now.
Lam’s office also denied the rumor that the government would make an announcement about such an arrangement on Monday afternoon.
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